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Senators Struggle to Define Computer 'Spyware'

Computer "spyware" is noxious and harmful and must be stopped as soon as people can figure out exactly what it is, members of a Senate subcommittee said on Tuesday.

Programs that secretly track computer users' activities are becoming an online scourge rivaling "spam" e-mail and should be outlawed before they prompt consumers to abandon the Internet, members of the Senate communications subcommittee said.

But a bill sponsored by committee members will need to define the problem precisely to avoid outlawing pop-up ads and other annoying but essentially harmless technologies, consumer and business advocates said.


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